BY SAHIL MANZOOR
Deforestation refers to large-scale cutting of different tree species in forests. Deforestation leads to soil erosion, flash floods, the risk of high intensity natural calamities.
It also results in a decrease in the concentration of oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere, and an increase in CO2, which causes an increase in temperature during summers.
In fact, forests play a necessary role in balancing natural phenomena. It includes CO2 and O2. This very phenomenon is necessary for the survival of life on this earth.
I agree that in our system every subject is important and has an influence on our society, like economics, education, political science, mathematics, history, and all the remaining ones.
But one thing is true and has been experienced by the experts: when it comes to environment-related issues, to resolve or sort them out, we need scientific experts.
Because in this universe, science has a colossal influence.
In our society, there is a selfish folk who are damaging, destroying, and smuggling forest assets for their personal gains. Actually, forests are golden assets of the nation. There are intellectual classes in our society as well, but they are bound by certain limits.
The concerned forest department should come out of their nests and initiate the counselling programmes for the general public. Advertising hoardings should be displayed at centrally located places to raise awareness and solicit feedback.
For the last couple of years, I have visited several forest areas in different districts like Budgam, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. It is very painful that in the past, deforestation has taken place at a very large scale.
In India, 7, 12,249 square kilometres of the total geographical area is under forests, and in Jammu & Kashmir, 20,230 square kilometres of the total geographical area is under forests.
The Pir Panjal forest range in Jammu and Kashmir is rich in different kinds of forest trees, plays a pivotal role in terms of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir, and provides shelter to several animal species there.
Pir Panjal is a group of mountains in the lesser Himalayas region, running from east-southeast to northwest across the Indian territories of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The average elevation varies from 1400 m to 4100 m. The Himalayas show a gradual elevation towards the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges.
Pir Panjal is the largest range of the lesser Himalayas, near the banks of the Sutlej River. It dissociates itself from the Himalayas and forms a divide between Beas and Ravi rivers on one side and Chenab on the other. The renowned Galyat Mountains are also located in this range. The region is connected to the valley of Kashmir via the Mughal Road, which used to be the historical connection of Kashmir with other states of India.
Since centuries, forests have been used for recreational activities like summer camps during the scorching heat of July and August. Forests are used for trekking, mountaineering, hunting, etc. Forests are used for research by researchers as well, and for a long time, the students of the higher levels who are pursuing their doctorate degrees from the universities
Uses of forests: As already mentioned in this article, the importance of the forests goes beyond helping the balance in the food chains and food webs. They also provide shelter to the wild animals and birds, act as the hub of medicinal plants, provide grazing space to the tribal nomads, and in some places, people who are living nearby forests also get several benefits without harming the forests.
What causes the deforestation: Deforestation takes place when there is an external involvement that disturbs the forest-covered areas for means of smuggling, constructional purposes, urbanization, timber demand for bridges, buildings, etc.
Suggestion: Reforestation is the best alternative for areas where trees have been cut down. But it takes too long to get into its original shape. So we should be aware of the people who try to harm the forest through local bodies, and government administration should pay attention to this, hold public awareness programmes regularly, and deploy sufficient manpower during night hours until our society gets vigilant and educated regarding the importance of the forest and its uses.
SAHIL MANZOOR, RAIYAR-ICH, BUDGAM
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.